Nikola Corporation, a global leader in battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV), and energy solutions, secured an additional $16.3 million grant to help fund its hydrogen fueling stations. This new grant gives Nikola a total of $58.2 million to support its hydrogen infrastructure.
Last month, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) awarded Nikola, through its HYLA brand, a $41.9 million grant under the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP) to build 6 heavy-duty hydrogen refueling stations across Southern California.
Each hydrogen refueling station is designed to support and scale up the growth of heavy-duty commercial hydrogen refueling needs.
Nikola also announced a milestone of 202 sales orders for its Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks, reflecting a growing industry trend towards sustainable solutions.
In Canada, First Hydrogen announced that the road test results of its FCEV are even better than what’s expected. Feedback from the trial is promising, asserting the viability and sustainability of hydrogen energy.
Is Hydrogen The Next Gold Rush?
As the world is in dire need of reducing carbon emissions, innovations for alternative energy sources are ramping up. Hydrogen is one of those alternatives, particularly in providing a cleaner option for the transportation industry.
Unlike fossil fuels that release planet-warming gasses, hydrogen fuel can be 100% clean, depending on the process used to burn it. In a hydrogen fuel cell EV, hydrogen is burned with pure oxygen in specially made cells. The only by-product is water.
Projections also indicate that hydrogen fuel will play a key role in the coming decades. Experts predict that the global hydrogen market will reach about $231 billion by 2030.
Regular EVs and FCEVs share many of the same advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, hydrogen-powered vehicles often have the same range as their traditional gas-powered counterparts.
A longer-range battery EV also requires a longer charging time. In contrast, refueling a hydrogen vehicle is the same as how a driver fills up his car at a gas station.
Some vehicle manufacturers are even betting on hydrogen by developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like Toyota recently revealed. But of course, hydrogen refueling infrastructure remains limited and lags behind EV battery charging infrastructure.
Still, a few countries have made hydrogen energy a core of their clean energy transition.
And Nikola is taking the lead in making hydrogen refueling easier and more widely available through its HYLA stations.
Nikola: The First-Mover of Hydrogen Stations
As a global manufacturer of zero-emission battery-electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles, energy solutions, and hydrogen stations, Nikola is revolutionizing the industry.
The additional grant it recently received from CTC builds on Nikola’s partnership with Voltera to develop up to 50 HYLA hydrogen stations in North America over the next 5 years.
The previous grant of almost $42 million was sponsored by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Caltrans’ support of Nikola promotes its zero emission vehicle (ZEV) adoption of freight technology across the state.
In appreciation of the massive support it’s getting from the state agencies, Nikola Energy president Carey Mendes said that:
“The California grant awards and government funding demonstrate the strong support for the Nikola hydrogen infrastructure brand HYLA’s mission of establishing a comprehensive zero-emission transportation solution to help fleets achieve climate goals…”
Mendes further said that they’re prioritizing developing a hydrogen ecosystem that advances their hydrogen fuel cell electric truck deployment.
These grants are a key enabler for Nikola’s first-mover zero-emission hydrogen fleet and its HYLA fueling stations. The company is also planning to develop an open network of commercial refueling infrastructure in California and eventually across North America.
With the recent grant announcement, Nikola stock is up 459% from its recent lows as shown in the chart from TradingView.
First Hydrogen: A Testament that FCEV Works
Back-to-back with Nikola’s announcement is First Hydrogen Corporation’s revelation that its hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered vehicle (FCEV) has achieved a range of 630 km on a single refueling during its fleet trial with UK-based SSE Plc.
First Hydrogen (TSXV: FHYD) is a Vancouver and London-based company focusing on zero-emission vehicles, green hydrogen production, and supercritical CO2 extractor systems.
SSE, one of the UK’s largest energy infrastructure firms, is the first to road test First Hydrogen’s hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Data from SSE trial shows that overall vehicle performance beat expectations by exceeding the results set in pre-trial commissioning tests. Results further suggest that heavier payloads and driving at higher speeds don’t significantly reduce the range or impact fuel cell performance.
Highlighting these remarkable achievements of First Hydrogen’s FCEV vans in real-world conditions, SSE Head of Fleet Services, Simon Gray, says:
“SSE is focussed on enabling, harnessing and deploying new technologies and innovations which can accelerate the journey to net zero. The feedback from this trial will be invaluable when considering if hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles could fit into our fleets of the future.”
These recent developments in the hydrogen market, particularly on FCEV and hydrogen refueling infrastructure seem to confirm that 2023 is indeed the year for green hydrogen. They’re also greenlighting the hydrogen revolution, which is considered a critical piece of the net zero puzzle.
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